Recently sacked former Wallabies and Waratahs full-back Israel Folau has taken to social media for the first time since his controversial messages last month.
Folau faced a huge backlash in April for posting a message on Instagram telling certain groups in society to repent, “Hell awaits you” and “Only Jesus saves”.
He was immediately fired by Rugby Australia, but the decision was taken to a hearing held by a three-person panel. The decision was upheld on Friday to terminate Folau’s contract.
The 30-year-old had remained fairly quiet throughout the controversy and has stuck by what he has said. In terms of his social media activity, he only changed his profile picture on his Instagram and Twitter accounts to an image saying “God first”.
However, he uploaded two new posts on Friday, sharing Bible verses on both social media platforms. This is what he shared:
View this post on Instagram
This has been a story that has rocked the rugby world – and the sporting world in general – as it has opened a new debate regarding the topics of freedom of religion, hate speech, homophobia etc. It’s one that will rage on after his sacking.
In reaction to his contract termination, Folau thanked “those who have spoken out in my defence, some of whom do not share my beliefs but have defended my right to express them”.
Breaking: Israel Folau reacts to his contract termination pic.twitter.com/FH5kx4W7G8
— Jamie Pandaram (@JamiePandaram) May 17, 2019
The 72-cap Wallaby is undeniably one of the best players on the planet and would have been one of the stars of the upcoming World Cup in Japan.
This entire debacle has rocked Australian rugby on and off the pitch, and Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson has already expressed what a distraction this has been for his team.
The future is now unclear for Folau, as it is unknown who would hire a player that is embroiled in such controversy. The door has been closed to a return to the NRL for now and while an invitation has been given for him to join the new format Global Rapid Rugby, he is yet to take anything.
WATCH: Independent panel reveal their decision in Folau case
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